Big Ag’s Growing Influence

On Capitol Hill, the ag lobby is the 800-pound steer.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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American Farm Bureau Federation
One of Capitol Hill’s most vocal lobby groups, it is also one of the nation’s largest crop and livestock insurance companies. Its county-level meetings have been a prime forum for airing fears about the climate bill.
Lobby spending: $2,634,661
Lobbyists: 37
Campaign contributions: $26,000

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
The group that brought you “Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner” represents the likes of the American Hereford Association, Purina, Dow Chemical, McDonald’s, and Wal-Mart.
Lobby spending: $198,257
Lobbyists: 15
Campaign contributions: $225,047

National Pork Producers Council
Members include billion-dollar corporations like Cargill, Bayer, and Pfizer. Top priorities this year include a demand for a $250 million swine subsidy.
Lobby spending: $863,137
Lobbyists: 26
Campaign contributions: $202,134

National Milk Producers Federation
Has some 40,000 members, from local co-ops to titans like Kraft Foods; vows to “ensure that agricultural enterprises are shielded from any adverse impacts” of climate legislation.
Lobby spending: $460,000
Lobbyists: 17
Campaign contributions: $88,000

National Corn Growers Association
Works hard to defend high-fructose corn syrup and ethanol subsidies, often in concert with ag behemoths like Archer Daniels Midland and John Deere (which by itself spent more than $1 million on lobbying this year).
Lobby spending: $340,000
Lobbyists: 13
Campaign contributions: $71,500

National Farmers Union
Represents some 250,000 mostly small farmers and ranchers; the only major ag group supporting Waxman-Markey, it flew members to DC in September to lobby for it.
Lobby spending: $450,000
Lobbyists: 3
Campaign contributions: $57,500

Campaign contributions are for ’07/’08 cycle, House and Senate campaigns only. Lobby spending is for first half of 2009. All figures from the Center for Responsive Politics.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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